The global pandemic has convincingly demonstrated prevention is easier, cheaper, and more efficient than cure. The best prevention method is a healthy lifestyle combined with practical knowledge on how to keep yourself well. We need it as much for our mind/brain as we require it for our physical body.
For many decades, the mental health approach has typically focused upon recovering from illnesses reactively. At best, we reach out to psychologists when we feel that things are crumbling. However, due to a stigma typically related to mental health, most people postpone seeking help and end up needing treatment.
Do not get me wrong, getting early treatment is extremely important. The key point is that meeting a psychologist when you develop milder problems is even better as it prevents possible escalation of the mental problem.
However, the best solution is being even more proactive, it focuses upon training your mind/brain while you are well.
You, as a person, win handily from learning how to possess mental strength. Moreover, mental sharpness allows employers to win as people are more present and engaged.
Investing in systematic intrapersonal training will also bring other potential benefits, like opening up creativity, boosting productivity and improving interpersonal relations (see the graph above).
THE SOURCE OF THE MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
Our established schools and universities currently lack systemic mental wellness-related education.
It means our inner domain remains frequently a misunderstood and mostly undiscovered area. It makes us easy to manipulate and equally makes us vulnerable to stress, burnout, anxiousness, etc. No wonder that we see a huge rise in depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.
We often experience mentally unhealthy lifestyles that ‘make us’ mentally depleted. The total lack of intrapersonal skills does not allow us to detect the early warning signs and deal with them efficiently.
Most of us do not notice when our inner downwards spiral starts and lack trained in preventative activities to sustain our mental wellbeing when faced with external pressure and challenges.
We hope blindly to stay well. Today most of us are aware that intentionally keeping our body well does not happen without any early proactive activities, like going to the gym, running, taking nature walks, eating healthy, etc. Why do we, nevertheless, hope it would be different in the case of our minds and brains?
A TRAINED MIND IS A FIT AND STRONG MIND
If we want to properly secure mental wellbeing, we need to do so much more than just normalize the talk around mental health and mental illnesses. Talking is good and genuinely needed. But the initiative to keep us mentally fit is what we need. Hopefully, the following analogy will allow some valuable insight into what we need as a solution today.
Before Arnold Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame as a Hollywood action film hero, he invested plenty of his own time in making physical fitness popular. As a successful outcome, we presently consider regular exercising of our bodies normal.
Around 1980 his effort of physical fitness revolution started showing first signs of success. It culminated on May 1, 1990, when the U.S. President George H.W. Bush joined him to start the Great American Workout.
Schwarzenegger used his name and fame and the fact that he was back then leading the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. The direct result was that primetime TV shows all over the U.S. forwarded this historical event to make physical fitness popular.
Slowly this social movement spread across the globe.
Today, going to the gym to train our physical body is considered a desirable and healthy thing. However, we still do not train our minds/brains in a similar systematic way. That was why a while ago we wrote a blog post about the need for the mental wellness revolution and decided to share this story here.
“Training our mind should be the new normal.”
The ultimate essence of the mental wellness revolution is a simple one: Let’s make training our minds normal.
As Arnold stated in Total Recall, his bestselling autobiography, “Focusing on the body was no problem for me, and later on, I became really curious to develop my mind. I realized that the mind is a muscle, and we should train it too.”
We should adequately understand that both physical fitness and mental fitness are the results of systematic training. As Arnold stated in his fascinating life story, “There are no shortcuts — everything is reps, reps, reps.” In the first case, we train our physical body. In the second case, we train our mind/brain.
Just as our muscles are plastic and trainable, so are our brains. Today we know our brains are neuroplastic. What does this mean?
Neuroplasticity is an umbrella term referring to our brains ability to modify, change and naturally adapt both its structures and functions throughout life and in response to our experiences.
The human brain is not a fixed entity, and it changes according to our lifestyle, habits, and the skills that we have.
“It is time to discover our inner domain and learn intrapersonal skills that keep us well.”
While we traditionally focus a lot on training the skills related to our physical body and professionalism, we seldom study and practice how lead our own inner or intrapersonal processes (watch the video below).
In schools, we typically tell kids to focus, but we do not teach them how to focus. We ask them to pay attention, but we do not teach how to lead your attention and intentionally keep it on the selected object as long as needed. However, we expect them to focus and pay attention. We even anticipate grown-ups promptly doing the same.
In reality, we have many false beliefs like the efficiency of multitasking, dependency on emotional motivation and blind beliefs that our external situations define our stress level or mental health, etc. No wonder that we are unproductive and fall into traps that make us ill.
WORKING FROM HOME MAKES OUR PROBLEMS OBVIOUS
While in offices and workplace environments, we felt mental health problems were out there. If we improve the office, the problem will go away.
Now we know that working remotely has revealed to us that stress originates from within our own worried mind, we now know that burnout can even occur in the serenity of our home.
Different mental health issues will become obvious even when we live alone and lack the pressure that huge families experience when the whole family studied and worked from home.
Even though it should be obvious knowledge that stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses develop gradually throughout our lives, we often try to blame someone else and act surprised when we turn out ill as a result of such slow processes.
“Wellness has no stigma.”
The genuine change will happen when we acknowledge our own responsibility and obtain intrapersonal skills that adequately support our mental wellbeing.
START SECURING YOUR MENTAL WELLNESS NOW
The real change demands focus on mental wellness.
Besides, the external work-related psychosocial risk factors, our internal mindsets matter at least as much. When a person has no knowledge of how to keep his or her mind well, pressures will sooner or later escalate.
Not knowing how to adequately deal with our problematic inner processes results in stress and anxiousness. Stress causes pressure, burnout and leads to toxic work and family relations. By feeling anxious, our inner fears are magnified, and in the long run, experiencing anxiousness leads to anxiety.
When stress and anxiety accumulate, it also leads to different physical and mental health issues. Studying how to lead our own intrapersonal processes makes it possible to intentionally avoid personal trauma and prevent work-related productivity and engagement problems.
WHY DOES MENTAL WELLNESS IMPORTANT NOW ?
A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation stated in April 2020 that 45% of Americans felt the Covid-19 crisis was harming their mental health and 19% experienced that this crisis had a strong influence on their mental health situation.
According to the recent MHA’s third annual Work Health Survey, “Most employees are experiencing early signs of burnout. Nearly 83% of respondents felt emotionally drained from their work, with over 40% stating they strongly agreed with this statement.”
This survey also stated that “Employees who are experiencing exhaustion, an early sign of burnout, report that workplace stress was affecting their mental health.”
Nearly 85% of respondents of this survey agreed (somewhat to strongly agreed) that their workplace stress affected their mental health (see the graph below). That should be a warning sign that something is broken in how most of us work.
Your car has brakes, so you can use them for intentionally avoiding accidents. Similarly, you need to spot when things start to go wrong and take a break before you hit the wall. But taking a break alone is not enough. Preventing trauma demands a systematic, proactive mental wellness approach.
The McKinsey homepage post about the coming mental health revolution states: “In a recent poll from the Pew Research Center, 73% of Americans reported feeling anxious at least a few days per week since the onset of the pandemic. Between mid-February and mid-March 2020, prescriptions for antianxiety medications increased 34%. During the week of March 15, when stay-at-home orders became pervasive, 78% of all antidepressant, antianxiety, and anti-insomnia prescriptions filled were new (versus refills).”
Those quoted mental health statistics sufficiently indicate how our mental wellness depends too much on our external factors, as we experience strong inner reactions towards what happens around us.
I have amply demonstrated in Wellness Orbit blog posts different stress-related statistics (see the graph above) and the benefits of proactive mental wellness. It should convince people mental wellbeing in the workplace is essential. Even more, mental wellness really is a profitable investment with excellent ROI (click on the link to find out more).
Our excellent inner wellness efficiently supports completing difficult work tasks and facilitates success.
Today’s changes have invariably brought along many challenges. Solving different challenges demands that we keep our minds well.
The peaceful mental wellness revolution is about distributing the message that our mind/brain is trainable. It points out that all of us should start with training our minds/brains while we are still quite okay.
Intrapersonal skills offer the limitless potential to adequately secure mental wellness for every person, regardless if they study, work from the office or home.
“Mental wellness gym and mental strength training is for everyone who wants to thrive.”
Mental wellness is not a specific niche. Instead, the proactive mental wellness approach is a comprehensive approach that is for everyone out there. It is the holistic approach that gives you a healthy mind.
Hopefully, someday a life without work-related mental health issues is the standard that we all actively strive for.
That hope is why the team of Wellness Orbit passionately loves to contribute to the digital mental health revolution by bringing along easy-to-use mental use mental wellness online trainings that everyone can benefit tremendously from.
We have now worked for years to turn systematic mental wellness e-trainings into a relaxing experience.
Investing in mental wellness is now easy and enables you to keep yourself and your team mentally fit and productive at the same time.
Click here to find out free mental wellness resources or here to take the online courses.